Every night I lie awake And every day I lie abed And hear the doctors, Pain and Death, Confering at my head. They speak in scientific tones, Professional and low— One argues for a speedy cure, The other, sure and slow. To one so humble as myself It should be matter for some pride To have such noted fellows here, Conferring at my side.
Oh in the deep blue night The fountain sang alone; It sang to the drowsy heart Of a satyr carved in stone. The fountain sang and sang But the satyr never stirred— Only the great white moon In the empty heaven heard. The fountain sang and sang And on the marble rim The milk-white peacocks slept, Their dreams were strange and dim. Bright dew was on the grass, And on the ilex dew, The dreamy milk-white birds Were all a-glisten too. The fountain sang and sang The things one cannot tell, The dreaming peacocks stirred And the gleaming dew-drops fell.
When I am dying, let me know That I loved the blowing snow Although it stung like whips; That I loved all lovely things And I tried to take their stings With gay unembittered lips; That I loved with all my strength, To my soul’s full depth and length, Careless if my heart must break, That I sang as children sing Fitting tunes to everything, Loving life for its own sake.
“She can’t be unhappy,” you said, “The smiles are like stars in her eyes, And her laugh is thistledown Around her low replies.” “Is she unhappy?” you said — But who has ever known Another’s heartbreak — All he can know is his own; And she seems hushed to me, As hushed as though Her heart were a hunter’s fire Smothered in snow.
I would live in your love as the sea-grasses live in the sea, Borne up by each wave as it passes, drawn down by each wave that recedes; I would empty my soul of the dreams that have gathered in me, I would beat with your heart as it beats, I would follow your soul as it leads.
If you have forgotten water lilies floating On a dark lake among mountains in the afternoon shade, If you have forgotten their wet, sleepy fragrance, Then you can return and not be afraid.
But if you remember, then turn away forever To the plains and the prairies where pools are far apart, There you will not come at dusk on closing water lilies, And the shadow of mountains will not fall on your heart.
Love in my heart was a fresh tide flowing Where the starlike sea gulls soar; The sun was keen and the foam was blowing High on the rocky shore. But now in the dusk the tide is turning, Lower the sea gulls soar, And the waves that rose in resistless yearning Are broken forevermore.
Since there is no escape, since at the end My body will be utterly destroyed, This hand I love as I have loved a friend, This body I tended, wept with and enjoyed; Since there is no escape even for me Who love life with a love too sharp to bear: The scent of orchards in the rain, the sea And hours alone too still and sure for prayer — Since darkness waits for me, then all the more Let me go down as waves sweep to the shore In pride; and let me sing with my last breath; In these few hours of light I lift my head; Life is my lover—I shall leave the dead If there is any way to baffle death.
Look back with longing eyes and know that I will follow, Lift me up in your love as a light wind lifts a swallow, Let our flight be far in sun or blowing rain— But what if I heard my first love calling me again?
Hold me on your heart as the brave sea holds the foam, Take me far away to the hills that hide your home; Peace shall thatch the roof and love shall latch the door— But what if I heard my first love calling me once more?
Day, you have bruised and beaten me, As rain beats down the bright, proud sea, Beaten my body, bruised my soul, Left me nothing lovely or whole — Yet I have wrested a gift from you, Day that dies in dusky blue:
For suddenly over the factories I saw a moon in the cloudy seas — A wisp of beauty all alone In a world as hard and gray as stone — Oh who could be bitter and want to die When a maiden moon wakes up in the sky?
The darkened street was muffled with the snow, The falling flakes had made your shoulders white, And when we found a shelter from the night Its glamor fell upon us like a blow. The clash of dishes and the viol and bow Mingled beneath the fever of the light. The heat was full of savors, and the bright Laughter of women lured the wine to flow. A little child ate nothing while she sat Watching a woman at a table there Learn to kiss beneath a drooping hat. The hour went by, we rose and turned to go, The somber street received us from the glare, And once more on your shoulders fell the snow.
It is not a word spoken, Few words are said; Nor even a look of the eyes Nor a bend of the head, But only a hush of the heart That has too much to keep, Only memories waking That sleep so light a sleep.
Shall we, too, rise forgetful from our sleep, And shall my soul that lies within your hand Remember nothing, as the blowing sand Forgets the palm where long blue shadows creep When winds along the darkened desert sweep? Or would it still remember, tho’ it spanned A thousand heavens, while the planets fanned The vacant ether with their voices deep? Soul of my soul, no word shall be forgot, Nor yet alone, beloved, shall we see The desolation of extinguished suns, Nor fear the void wherethro’ our planet runs, For still together shall we go and not Fare forth alone to front eternity.
This is the quiet hour; the theaters Have gathered in their crowds, and steadily The million lights blaze on for few to see, Robbing the sky of stars that should be hers. A woman waits with bag and shabby furs, A somber man drifts by, and only we Pass up the street unwearied, warm and free, For over us the olden magic stirs. Beneath the liquid splendor of the lights We live a little ere the charm is spent; This night is ours, of all the golden nights, The pavement an enchanted palace floor, And Youth the player on the viol, who sent A strain of music through an open door.
The city’s all a-shining Beneath a fickle sun, A gay young wind’s a-blowing, The little shower is done. But the rain-drops still are clinging And falling one by one— Oh it’s Paris, it’s Paris, And spring-time has begun.
I know the Bois is twinkling In a sort of hazy sheen, And down the Champs the gray old arch Stands cold and still between. But the walk is flecked with sunlight Where the great acacias lean, Oh it’s Paris, it’s Paris, And the leaves are growing green.
The sun’s gone in, the sparkle’s dead, There falls a dash of rain, But who would care when such an air Comes blowing up the Seine? And still Ninette sits sewing Beside her window-pane, When it’s Paris, it’s Paris, And spring-time’s come again.
They came to tell your faults to me, They named them over one by one; I laughed aloud when they were done, I knew them all so well before,— Oh, they were blind, too blind to see Your faults had made me love you more.
I thought I had forgotten, But it all came back again To-night with the first spring thunder In a rush of rain. I remembered a darkened doorway Where we stood while the storm swept by, Thunder gripping the earth And lightning scrawled on the sky. The passing motor busses swayed, For the street was a river of rain, Lashed into little golden waves In the lamp light’s stain. With the wild spring rain and thunder My heart was wild and gay; Your eyes said more to me that night Than your lips would ever say. . . . I thought I had forgotten, But it all came back again To-night with the first spring thunder In a rush of rain.